Rakuten Symphony and CIQ Bring Open Source and Open Community Back to Open RAN Deployments with CentOS Successor, Rocky Linux, Open RAN

  • Rakuten Symphony and CIQ are jointly driving the return to true open community principles enabling edge cloud deployment supporting very large radio network deployments with a business model that works at scale.
  • Rakuten Symphony and CIQ announce support for open-source Rocky Linux to provide a real-time, high-performance operating system for distributed unit (DU) radio processing software.
  • The real-time Rocky Linux operating system is validated on the Rakuten Mobile network in Japan and is available through commercial shipments from Rakuten Symphony.

TOKYO– Rakuten Symphony, Inc. and CIQ, Inc. today announced the availability and support of the Rocky Linux operating system to handle demanding radio signal processing software workloads.

“Open source communities encourage innovation through collaboration. Without them, many of the technologies we take for granted today would never have been developed or would be locked behind patent law. The rollout of Rocky Linux represents a return to true open source principles, powered by open communities,” said Tareq Amin, CEO of Rakuten Mobile and Rakuten Symphony.

In modern telecommunications networks, DU deployment results in a large number of sites that today require individual operating system licenses and support. Using licensing models designed for small-footprint businesses does not work economically. Additionally, the high performance requirements demanded by radio processing workloads for 5G and Open RAN mean that generic OS solutions are not enough. This is true for all latency-sensitive workloads running at the edge in any sector.

The focus on high performance also improves cost effectiveness when deploying at such scale. Deploying highly latency-sensitive and performance-driven workloads such as DU requires precise allocation of compute, network, and memory resources, which is accomplished through the real-time operating system kernel from Rocky Linux, with orchestration performed via Rakuten Symphony Symworld™ cloud platform.

“We have successfully validated Rocky Linux with our radio software in the Rakuten Mobile network in Japan. Open source performance is clearly on par with commercial alternatives available in the market today,” says Ryota Mibu, Head of Cloud Platform Division, Rakuten Mobile. “We have implemented the improved recognition of the platform required for radio software operation by applying advanced techniques and tools such as CPU pinning, SR-IOV, DPDK/PMD, link aggregation and source-based routing. »

Gregory Kurtzer, Founder of Rocky Linux and also Founder and CEO of CIQ, said, “Rocky is the trusted successor to CentOS, which was immensely popular across the entire ecosystem, including telecommunications. Rocky is 100% compatible with RHEL and continues the open source promise that CentOS left behind. It is a perfect alternative in all areas of telecommunications business. We have worked with the telecom community to ensure it meets both the real-time performance and economic needs of large deployments of disaggregated and open 5G+ telecom networks in the future. The Rakuten team has been a great partner with CIQ, and we’re all thrilled with the success Rakuten Symphony has had with Rocky Linux.

Rocky Linux is fundamental to the planned deployment of 30,000 units of Symware™ in Rakuten Mobile and contributes to the projected cost savings of 50%. Rakuten Symphony will establish a dedicated team within its cloud business unit focused on the distribution of Rocky Linux and also works closely with a wide range of third-party vendors and technology partners within the telecommunications industry to make Rocky Linux the standard operating system for running large networks. .

“As Head of Security and Compliance for Rocky Linux/RESF, my goal was to ensure that we maintain a secure, transparent, and trusted enterprise Linux solution for the community,” said Scott Shinn, CTO of Atomicorp and Rocky Linux community member and team leader. Shinn is also project manager of the open source intrusion detection system OSSEC HIDS. “This includes exceeding compliance requirements for numerous industry standards (PCI-DSS, NIST-800-53/171, NERC/CIP, HIPAA, etc.) and supply chain assurance for the entire SBOM and ensuring that they are always openly available to the entire Rocky open source community.This is very exciting for telecoms who have widely distributed core-to-edge resources powering their 4G and 5G radio networks. For this reason, we are very pleased that Rakuten is joining and sponsoring the Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation (RESF) to ensure that Rocky Linux is always a leading solution for all telecommunications.”

Amin also commented, “Rakuten Symphony’s design center is focused on simplifying and removing unnecessary cost and complexity. This also applies to architectures, technologies and cost structures. With modern cloud-based architectural changes now being introduced for the first time in telecommunications, this is an opportunity to think differently and solve problems in new ways given our large-scale and performance.

Rocky Linux is an open source operating system designed to be bug-for-bug compatible with Red Hat® Enterprise Linux®. Rocky Linux was founded by original CentOS founder Gregory Kurtzer to provide a freely available, community-maintained version of the Enterprise Linux standard. CIQ, Inc. is the founding sponsor and partner of the Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation and Rocky Linux and also provides support and services around Rocky Linux.

Rakuten joined the Rocky Enterprise Software Foundation in October 2022 as part of the Rocky Linux collaboration.


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